NMA AND HER EGOCENTRIC DEMANDS: THE HEIGHT OF GROSS LAWLESSNESS, IMPUNITY & BLACKMAIL
(1) APPOINTMENT OF THE POST OF THE DEPUTY CMAC IN HOSPITALS. In line with the University Hospitals (reconstruction of boards) cap U15, LFN 2004 commonly called decree 10 of 1985 which governs Hospital practice in Nigerian, there is the office of the CMAC but it never provided for the office of the DCMAC. In section 4, it provides thus; “there shall be for each Hospital, a Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee who shall be appointed by the Board and responsible to the Chief Medical Director for all the Clinical and Training activities of the Hospital”. Section 2i provides that; the CMAC is a member of the board. There is no place in the organic law setting up the hospital that created the office of the DCMAC and there is no place it says that only Allopathic Medical Doctors should be appointed as such. Yet NMA is insisting that the Government must appoint four DCMAC in every Teaching Hospital and three in every Federal Medical Centre. All along, Boards of Hospitals as a result of threats from NMA have been allowing this illegal office to be used to undermine statutory approved Scheme of Service of other professional groups. The Public Service Rule in section 1-general in 160101 provides; ‘A Parastatal is a government-owned organization, established by statutes to render specified service(s) to the public. It is structured and operates according to the instrument establishing it and also comes under the policy directives of government. In line with 160201 (a) statutory boards/council shall set operational and administrative policies in accordance with government policy directives and supervise the implementation of such policies. A situation where Allopathic Medical Doctors in Nigeria wants the Government to continue to create post and responsibilities not backed by statutes undermines the principles of good governance. It is gross violation of the law setting the Government owned institution. Moreover, it is trite law that you cannot add to a statute. That will be ultra verse.
(2) NMA IS OPPOSED TO THE APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTORS IN HOSPITALS. It should be noted that this statement is laden with deceit as postulated by NMA, that having Directors in hospitals will affect patient care negatively. This is fallacy of the highest order. The truth of the matter is, NMA does not want professional departments as directorates in the various Scheme of Service, rendering professional duties like the department of Pharmaceutical Services headed by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services who is a Pharmacist. Department of Nursing Services under the Director Nursing Services, who is a Nurse. The Department of Medical Laboratory Services under the Director of Medical Laboratory Services, who is Medical Laboratory Scientist etc.And all are answerable to the Chief Medical Director. It should be noted that, NMA and her members were the ones who negotiated their present Scheme of Service that all their members can rise to level 17 without being called Directors. Other Healthcare Personnel have continued to follow their own Scheme of Service where only one person gets to level 17 and is designated the Director, which is the most popular path in the Public Service. Again in the criteria for employment as stated in the Public Service rule in 020205,-“to be eligible for appointment into the federal Public Service, every applicant must 020205(e) possess requisite qualification as provide in the Scheme of Service.” The Scheme of Service of all other Healthcare Personnel in the hospital provides for a Directorate system. Now NMA and her members want to go on strike for Government to jettison the Public Service Rule which is a Government Policy Document. The Scheme of Service for Allopathic Medical doctors provides for a non Directorate system. AND NO PROFESSIONAL GROUP IMPOSES HER OWN SCHEME OF SERVICE ON THE OTHER. SECONDLY NO EMPLOYEE DETERMINES THE CONDITION OF SERVICE OF ANOTHER EMPLOYEE. They are agitating for this in order to entrench professional imperialism, so that all other healthcare staff will not reach the zenith of their career. That is the singular reason, a doctor on level 15 is called a Head of Department heading someone already on level 17 and is designated a Director .This is gross absurdity against the Public Service Rule. There is no Government Institution in Nigerian where such is seen, only in our Hospitals. And that is what NMA wants to perpetuate. Rule 160103 of the Nigerian Public Service Rule provides –“Parastatals are to retain and improve existing rules, procedures and practices in their establishments and ensure that there are no deviations from the general principles contained in the Public Service Rules………………………………however in the absence of internal rules and regulations on any matter, the relevant provisions of the Public Services Rule shall apply”. This can also be seen in section 5(5) and 17 of the act governing hospital practice in Nigeria. NMA’s demands are anti- Public Service Rule.
(3) NMA DEMANDS THAT GRADE LEVEL 12 SHOULD BE SKIPPED BY DOCTORS.
This demand is not in line with Government approved Scheme of Service for Doctors.NMA in her usual falsehood has always accused JOHESU members of skipping when in actual sense there is nothing like that. The term is a misnomer this is because skipping is when a Civil Servant moves from a grade level to a higher grade level that is not provided for in the Scheme of Service e.g. when a worker moves from 8-10 and there is no approval for such a special promotion ,this is skipping. But when you move from 10- 12 this is not skipping because this is provided in the Scheme of Service and there is no level 11 in the Scheme of Service. A baby physician enters the Service on level 12, which is a principal grade. Now NMA is insisting that they must be appointed on level 13, which is an Assistant Chief Cadre. Haba! How can a beginner enter the Civil Service on an Assistant Chief Cadre? There is no Nigerian worker that enters the Service on such grade. There is no Nigerian Civil Servants that skips. This is not provided in any known Nigerian scheme of Service.
(4 ) APPOINTMENT OF OTHER MEDICAL PERSONNEL AS CONSULTANTS.
NMA is threatening to go on strike because the Government has chosen to obey Court judgment in favour of other Health Personnel that they can also be appointed as consultants in their chosen field. In a false sense of well being, NMA insists that they own the patients and as such only the medical doctor can be called a Consultant. Nobody owns the patient; rather the patient is the epi-centre of Healthcare Service. Medical doctors are just one of the professional skilled healthcare attendants in a hospital, attending to the healthcare needs of the patient. Each medical personnel are given a license to practice their chosen field. The various scheme of Service for Pharmacists, Physiotherapist, Nurses, Medical Laboratory Scientists etc provides that they can be appointed as consultants. All over the world, it is not only Allopathic Medical Doctors that are appointed as consultants. A simple google search will show that there are different consultants in the Health Field. The word consultant is not an exclusive term to designate Allopathic Medical Doctors who are specialists. William A .Cohen, PhD, in his bestselling book “How to Make It Big as a Consultant” has this to say on pages 2 and 3. “Consultants operate in many different fields. Import-export, management, human resources, engineering, and marketing are some of the more common ones. There are consultants in archeology and consultants in clothes selection. There are even consultants to help authors overcome writer’s block.” On page 3 he has this to say. “A consultant is simply anyone who gives advice or performs other services of a professional or a semiprofessional nature in return for compensation”. NMA wants to stop working because other Healthcare Personnel are appointed as consultants. Is NMA saying that they are the only Professionals in the Health Field?
(5) RELATIVITY IN HEALTH SECTOR
On what basis is NMA still agitating for relativity when at the point of entry this has been taken care of and resolved based on the number of years one spends in school. Those who spend four years have their entry point as level 8,those that spend five years on level 9 ,those that spend five years with one year of internship on level 10,while those that spend six years with one year internship on level twelve. The agitation for the so called relativity is discriminatory and violates the Nigerian Constitution as stipulated in section 34-(1). NMA insisting that this must be sacrosanct in the Health Sector is on what basis? It should be noted that members of NMA are just employees of the Government, just like every other Civil Servant, and as such no employee determines what another employee is to be paid. It is never done anywhere in the world. This is a sense of megalomania, and so this jack of all trade mentality must stop.
(6) NATIONAL HEALTH BILL.
NMA is calling for the implementation of the National Health Bill which has been shown to contain a lot of clauses that are anti-people. Many professional Associations, Civil Societies and well meaning Nigerians have called for the removal of these obnoxious sections of the Bill. But NMA in the bid to actualize her set selfish agenda has refused to give good reason a chance. Again some part of the Bill undermines the Nigerian Constitution in use in a Federal System of Government. No Nigerian Health Worker is against having a Health Bill but all we are saying is that in order to meet Government set objectives to enhance the total wellbeing of the citizenry the obnoxious sections has to be expunged.
(7) THE APPOINTMENT OF SURGEON GENERAL.
This office is not created by law. There is no Nigerian statute that says that we must have the office of the Surgeon General. Creation of this office will lead to more agitation and anarchy in the Health Sector which is already polarized. Every professional group will be agitating for the creation of X-general, e.g. Pharmacist general, Nurse general, Optometrist general, Radiographer general, Physiotherapy general, Dietician general; Medical laboratory scientist general etc. The creation of this post will lead to more problems in the health sector. Secondly of what role and benefit is the office of the Surgeon general when we already have two Ministers of Health and there are many Directors also having such functions?
(8) THE ENTRY POINT OF HOUSE OFFICER TO BE ON COMMESS 1 STEP 4
This level is equivalent to grade level 10 steps 4. On what is this agitation predicated on, when such entry point is not supported by any Scheme of Service, used as one of the criteria for appointment into the Public Service of the federation? It should be noted that house officers are intern or Pupil Medical Doctors. There is no intern in Nigerian that enters the service on step four. Moreover, steps are indicators of the level of experience or years the person /officer have spent on that grade level. On what criteria is a neophyte/green horn in his profession placed on step four? What you have is either step one or step two. Government should not accede to this demand that undermines ethical procedural practice in the Public Service.
(9) CLINICAL ALLOWANCES FOR HONORARY CONSULTANTS TO BE INCREASED BY 90% OF CONMESS.
Early this year, under the immediate past President of NMA, Dr Enabulele, NMA had had an upward salary increase for their members. Not up to 5 months, NMA is now calling for another bloated allowance. Note that consultants are meant to render quality service as Attending Physicians, but what do we see daily in our hospitals? Most of the times, the “consultants/honorary consultants” are never around. Yet they want to be paid such a jumbo allowance. Those that are around, work four times in a month, having one clinic day in a week.
(10) NMA, with the huge sum they are paid, still wants adjustment in their specialist allowance to be paid to all doctors on CONMESS 3 and above, and must be paid its equivalent that is not less than 50% higher than what is paid to other Health Workers. How can NMA be the one to decide what other Health Workers get? NMA should go and read the Parable of one Talent Payment.
(11) NMA is calling for Government to pay her members 100,000 naira every month as just hazard allowance. How can NMA be demanding for such, despite all she is already receiving? She is being too selfish/greedy in her demands. Even other workers with worse occupational hazards are not receiving such.
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